Swiss Tax Reform will introduce a Patent Box by 2020

ByIP Partners Switzerland

Swiss Tax Reform will introduce a Patent Box by 2020

Switzerland citizens voted for the Federal Act on Tax Reform and AHV Financing (TRAF) in the referendum of 19 May 2019. In compliance with OECD recommendations for international taxation, the new tax system, to be implemented by the cantons as early as in 2020, will develop new tax-related special arrangements to promote research and development (R&D), and in particular the patent box mechanism that will allow a portion of the profits from inventions to be taxed at a reduced rate.

Companies as well as independent developers holding patent rights issued from Switzerland R&D (according to the OECD rules) will be eligible to the tax reduction.

Which rights qualify for the patent box?

Domestic and foreign patents and similar rights should qualify for the Swiss patent box. The term “similar rights” includes, in particular, supplementary protection certificates, protected research results and the corresponding foreign rights. Software which is part of an invention can also be patented in Switzerland (“computer-implemented invention”). This is the case when it serves a technical application, e.g. when it controls industrial processes as part of a device, technologically improves data transfer or data storage, increases a computer system’s security or makes a computer system easier to use (human-machine interface). These patents likewise qualify for the patent box.

Source: Federal Department of Finance Q&A, May 2019

Our IP Partners experts are available for a quick, cost-effective audit of your assets (incl. machinery, software, processes…) to help you determine your individual patent-box opportunities in partnership with your fiduciary, so that you are ready for the tax changes as early as in 2020-2021, in particular in cantons where the patent box will be subject to a significant reduction rate – this is particularly applicable to companies and independents with original products which are commercially registered with R&D staff operating in Fribourg (subject to the June 30 cantonal votation), Valais, and/or possibly Vaud (still to be determined as the time of writing this note). Depending on the international export opportunities as well as national licensing and divestment strategies for your innovations, a number of patenting options are available at a reasonable cost and time-to-grant. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information!

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Joel Wenger, Swiss and European patent attorney joins the Swiss IP Partners network

Joel started his carreer with a fifteen years industrial experience in the field of electronic development. He worked for ABB in Baden in the data encryption sector, for ABB in Sécheron as a hydroelectric power plant process control programmer, as a group development manager for Landis & Gyr in the field of payphones, and as an independent consultant in the development of a STIWELL muscular stimulator (more than 1,200 units sold).

In 1995, Joel Wenger left development for the intellectual property profession by joining Katzarov S.A. in Geneva. As part of the editorial staff of the well-known Katzarov Handbook, he became familiar with procedures in a large number of countries. After a three-year training, he successfully passed the European Patent Attorney qualification examination. In 1999, he took charge of the patent department of Griffes Consulting, an intellectual property firm in Geneva, which enjoyed substantial growth under his command.

In May 2001, he became head of Leman Consulting SA, a new IP law firm initiated by the needs of the Kudelski group to develop a larger patent portfolio with highly specialized expertise in telecommunications and security systems. He subsequently developed the Nagravision and Nagracard assets from a single patent application in the end 1990s to a diversified, international portfolio of several hundreds of patent families by the 2010s. To sustain this growth, he recruited and managed a team of specialists in the field of patents and trademarks, also serving a diversity of local customers beyond the Kudelski affiliates in the ICT and medtech sectors. He also regularly gives IP training courses both internal to client companies and within international projects.

Following the closing of Leman Consulting SA as a separate affiliate from the Kudelski group in April 2018, he joined the IP Partners network in April 2018 to pursue the IP development needs of a number of fast-growing Swiss high-tech SMEs.